It is also easy to make political hay for the left and right by pointing fingers. Jim Geraghty
In New Hampshire, 16 percent of voters in the Republican primary had a high-school education or less. Donald Trump won 47 percent in this demographic; the next-closest candidate was Cruz with 13 percent. A September analysis of Trump voters found “One half of his voters have a high school education or less, compared to 19 percent with a college or post-graduate degree.”
If you only have a high school education, your economic prospects are going to be limited, no matter who is president. We can argue about whether employers overvalue college degrees, but it’s hardly been a secret that employers in the highest-paying fields aren’t interested in job applicants with only a high-school degree, or high-school dropouts.
Today, lot of Americans are telling anyone who will listen, “I got screwed.” You risk an apoplectic frenzy if you dare respond . . . “Are you sure? Are you absolutely certain that your disappointing life circumstances aren’t a result of the decisions you’ve made? At all?” If a man looks at his life, and concludes his prospects for a better future are slim, how much of that is society or the economy’s fault, and how much of it is his fault? It’s a lot easier to blame Wall Street or the richest 1 percent or the elites than to acknowledge our own mistakes and bad decisions.
Maybe I’m a cynic, but I keep running across “victims” who don’t seem like actual victims. Was the housing bubble really just an endless series of Wall Street fat-cats and “predatory lenders” going after well-meaning, hard-working Americans who just dreamed of owning a home? It had nothing to do with people buying houses they couldn’t afford and assuming they could sell them quickly?
Back on January 26 of last year, the Washington Post wrote a lengthy profile piece presumably meant to be a heartbreaking portrait of victims of the housing bubble in Prince George’s County. The article showcased Comfort and Kofi Boateng, legal immigrants from Ghana, who “struggle under nearly $1 million in debt that they will never be able to repay . . .”
Wait for it…
“on the 3,292-square-foot, six-bedroom, red-brick Colonial they bought for $617,055 in 2005. The Boatengs have not made a mortgage payment in 2,322 days — more than six years — according to their most recent mortgage statement.”
These folks have lived in a six-bedroom house and haven’t paid a dime for six years, and we’re supposed to believe they’re the victims here? The Post continued, “Their plight illustrates how some of the people swallowed up by the easy credit era of the previous decade have yet to reemerge years later.” Wait, living in a house for six years for free is a plight?
You probably remember this poster boy for Occupy Wall Street: “Frustrated by huge class sizes, sparse resources and a disorganized bureaucracy, [Joe Therrien] set off to the University of Connecticut to get an MFA in his passion–puppetry. Three years and $35,000 in student loans later, he emerged with degree in hand . . .” (Don’t worry; these days Therrian is using his puppetry skills in a show, The Seditious Conspiracy Theater Presents: A Monument to the Political Prisoner Oscar Lopez Rivera.)
Look, before you take on five or six figures in debt, maybe you should take a little time to think about how much money you’ll be able to earn when you’re finished. That’s not “the system” being unfair to you; that’s supply and demand.
Promoting personal responsibility is hard enough without political leaders who keep rushing to the cameras to tell Americans that nothing is ever their fault; it’s always the work of these nefarious sinister, powerful forces.
Is there any sign that Americans have learned the right lessons from the Obama years? Doesn’t it seem like we’re hungrier than ever for new scapegoats?